Smurfs on TV (from esmurfs.com)
NBC president Fred Silverman bought the rights to the Smurfs and turned them into one of the most successful cartoons ever to hit the air. The first episode aired September 12, 1981. The cartoon featured the adventures of the Smurfs who lived in the mushroom cottages of Smurf Village with their 542-year-old leader, Papa Smurf. Their lives would have been perfect were it not for the villainous Gargamel, an evil wizard who spent his days trying to capture the Smurfs. Gargamel's cat Azrael added to the menace, always looking for a snack.
The original characters - including Brainy, Jokey, Vanity, Grouchy and Clumsy-were later joined by Grandpa Smurf and four Smurflings; who got caught in Father Time's grandfather clock (which works in reverse) and they become youngsters. Gargamel, too, got a friend in the form of the unscrupulous Scruple.
In 1982 the characters Johan and his aide Peewit were given their own segments during the expanded, 90-minute Smurfs, but the two humans were not as well received as their blue friends, and thus did not last.
Despite its incredible popularity, The Smurfs actually encountered some controversy. Some adults considered the show sexist in its use of the one original female character, Smurfette (who was created by Gargamel in a plot to catch the Smurfs.)
Perhaps the most memorable feature of the show was the use of the word "smurf" in every possible tense and construction. For instance, it wouldn't be unusual to hear a Smurf say something like, "It's such a smurfy day, I think I'll go smurfing in Lake Smurf."
In any case, the show won two Emmys as Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series and, in 1987, actually did a message episode. In an anti-drug show, Poet Smurf became addicted after rubbing a witch's magic orb and required the help of Papa and the gang to overcome his problem.
The Smurfs hit the silver screen in 1984 with The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. The film was actually a dubbed version of an older Belgian feature, and our teeny weeny heroes didn't even appear until a ways in. The film flopped, but the cartoon continued to rule Saturday morning for the better part of the decade.
In 1989, in an attempt to save the nearly decade-old show, the producers had the Smurfs leaving Smurf Village to visit various times and locations. Fans were smurfed off. The show was cancelled after that season, ending August 25, 1990, surviving only in the syndicated package titled The Smurfs' Adventures.
This package is being shown world-wide. It airs in the U.S. on the cable/sattelite channel Boomarang, a subsidiary of the Cartoon Network which specializes in vintage cartoons.
Online Source: http://www.esmurfs.com/smurfs-tv.html
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